Brawl win motivates Wildcats
Cassville overcomes late scare in win over Monett
Friday the 13th provided a late scare for the Cassville football team, but by the night’s end, the Wildcats proudly stood tall and slammed the door shut on a last-minute Monett comeback attempt.
The contest started out as a defensive chess match, but the lack of scoring in the opening minutes gave way to a frantic final quarter that saw the cubs take three shots in the end zone in an attempt to tie the game in the final seconds.
“It was a rollercoaster,” said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. “When you’re up high, you have to hang on and survive, and I’m proud of the kids for showing the perseverance they did in the fourth quarter to overcome that adversity.”
Cassville punched in two scores in the second quarter, one coming with only 8 seconds left in the half, the second consecutive week the Wildcats have scored with single digits remaining on the clock in the first half.
Cassville extended the lead to 21-0 in the third quarter, but just when things looked to be coming to a close, the Cubs came roaring back. Monett punched in a 5-yard run and a 1-yard quarterback sneak to bring the game back to a one-score contest with 6:59 left to play.
The Wildcats were able to run the clock down to 1:03 before a pitch went awry and the Cubs recovered a fumble at their own 33-yard line. After converting a fourth-and-10 on the Wildcats’ 32-yard line, a pass interference call in the end zone put Monett at the 17-yard line.
The Cubs threw up two lofted balls to the right side of the end zone, unable to pull either down, and one play was broken up by the Wildcats’ defense as Monett’s quarterback was releasing the ball.
A final attempt to the back left of the end zone fell incomplete, killing the clock and allowing the Wildcats to keep the Barry County Brawl trophy for the third year in a row.
“Adversity like that is not only part of football, but it’s part of life,” Parnell said. “Things do not always go your way, and we do our best to teach the kids to overcome their mistakes and adversity.
“We executed well in the second quarter and got some big third-down conversions to extend drives. We want to score against any opponent, and we did a really nice job [at the end of the first half] staying under control, understanding the situation and executing.”
DJ White, Wildcats receiver, said he was happy and excited when Cassville scored again just before halftime.
“It was great we executed like that again,” he said. “Our first half was decent, and the third quarter was bad. The fourth was not that much better, but we have a lot of grit and a lot of heart, and that’s how we came away with the win.”
White said the late second-quarter score was a clutch play in the game.
“When we needed big plays, our players stepped up every time,” he said.
Overcoming adversity has been a theme for the Parnell-coached Wildcats, and it’s a phrase White said he loves hearing.
“I love it because most of the time Coach Parnell talks about adversity, it usually ends with us overcoming it and coming out with a win,” he said.
White led receivers in the contest Friday with 7 catches for 111 yards. Zach Coenen and Bowen Preddy reeled in one target each, for 13 and 25 yards, respectively, with Coenen’s good for 6 points.
Quarterback Deven Bates went 9-for-15 through the air for 149 yards and the one score. Coenen led on the ground with 102 yards on 19 carries, but Preddy led in scoring with 74 yards on 19 carries and 2 touchdowns.
Defensively, Coenen led with 5 unassisted tackles and 1 assisted. Jaden Reibert followed with 4 unassisted, 3 assisted and a fumble recovery. Preddy and White tallied 4 unassisted tackles each.
The Wildcats hit the road Friday, heading to Seneca for a 7 p.m. kickoff.